What can I do with a major in music?

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Examples of where alumni in your major are working

Companies:
Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam)
Ontario Center for Performing Arts
Apple Computer

Titles:
Musical Engineer
Music Therapist
Freelance Musician

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 2,757
Employers in US: 27,902

 

Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Education

Areas

Teaching
Research
Private Lessons

Employers

K-12 schools, public and private 
Colleges and universities 
Conservatories 
Daycare centers
Recreation centers 
Children's music programs (franchises, local) 
Studios 
Self-employed

Information/Strategies

Acquire teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
Earn a graduate degree to teach in higher education. Specialize in an area such as music theory, composition, music history, etc.
Performance skill on one instrument or voice is required.
Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work experiences.
Join the National Association for Music Education as a collegiate member.
Develop business relationships with schools and/or music stores to increase client base.

Performance

Areas

Instrumental
Vocal

Employers

Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Armed Forces bands and orchestras
Small ensembles
Rock or jazz groups
Dance bands
Concert soloist
Clubs and restaurants
Church choirs
Community choral groups
Opera companies
Musical theaters
Ballet productions
Recording industry
Radio, television, and motion picture industries
Cruise lines
Amusement parks

Information/Strategies

Develop musical talent and skill.
Obtain formal training to acquire necessary skills, knowledge, and ability to interpret music.
Demonstrate ambition and showmanship.
Join campus bands and choruses, church choirs, and other performing acts.
Seek competitions, apprenticeship programs, and workshops to gain experience and recognition.
Auditions are generally required to join bands or get jobs.
Be willing to move to a large city with more opportunities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas, or Chicago.
Network with people in the industry to learn about potential jobs.
Opportunities are very limited. Most performers have other careers.

Conducting

Areas

Directing
Planning
Leading
Musician Selection

Employers

Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Armed Forces bands and orchestras
Various bands
Choirs
Choral groups
Opera companies
Musical theater companies

Information/Strategies

Develop superior musicianship and leadership.
Acquire extensive experience in performing groups.
Develop advanced site-reading skills.
Learn other languages such as French, German, Latin, and Italian.
Gain acceptance into a conductor-training program or related apprenticeship.
Opportunities are extremely limited.

Composing/Arranging

Areas

Composing
Arranging

Employers

Self-employed
Record companies
Publishers
Muzak
Motion picture and television industries
Production companies
Orchestras: philharmonic, symphony, and chamber
Opera companies
Musical theater groups
Ballet troupes
Broadway

Information/Strategies

Knowledge of composition, harmony, arranging, and theory are important.
Skill on one or more instruments and voice are necessary. Play an instrument in a professional arena.
Become familiar with all types of music productions.
Learn how to use electronic instruments and synthesizers.
Develop computer and desktop publishing expertise.
Attend music conferences and workshops.
Seek grants and awards through foundations, e.g. one from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Very few musicians earn living through composing.

Music Libraries

Areas

Employers

Colleges and universities
Conservatories
Public libraries
Radio and television stations
Motion picture studies

Information/Strategies

Develop computer and research skills.
Gain thorough knowledge of music and musicology.
Earn a master's degree in library/information science.
Work in a campus or public library to gain relevant experience.
Develop good organizational and technology skills.
Learn to understand foreign languages, particularly Italian, Latin, German, and French.
Join the Music Library Association.

Communications (Broadcasting)

Areas

Music and Program Direction
On-Air Performance
Promotion
Voice Overs
Copyright/Clearance Administration
Music License Administration
Music Editing, Production, and Composing
Sound Mixing
Post Production
Research

Employers

Radio and television stations
Virtual reality sound environments e.g. Internet sites, software creators

Information/Strategies

Take classes in communications, broadcasting, or journalism.
Work at on-campus radio station.
Complete an internship at a television or radio station.
Develop computer-related skills such as software development and programming.

Music Therapy

Areas

Employers

Hospitals: general and psychiatric
Special education facilities
Mental health centers
Nursing homes and senior centers
Rehabilitation centers
Correctional facilities
Private practice
Outpatient clinics
Schools

Information/Strategies

Take courses in psychology, social work, or education.
Earn a master's degree in music therapy and seek certification.
Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in helping people.
Learn to work well with all types of people.
Develop a broad array of musical talents.

Behind the Scenes

Areas

Audio Technician
Boom Operator
General Director
Music Video Producer
Recording Engineer
Set Up
Recordist
Rerecording Mixer
Sound Engineer
Sound Technician
Sound/Production Mixer
Stage Manager

Employers

Local bands
Regional bands
Production companies
Theater groups
Orchestras
Armed Forces
Radio, television, and motion picture industries

Information/Strategies

Shadow an individual who is in the music industry in an area of interest.
Volunteer in community, school, or church productions.
Gain expertise in the areas of musical and technical knowledge, sound board, and sound equipment.
Take courses in areas such as broadcasting, engineering, or computer science to learn technical skills.
Complete an internship with a recording company or other relevant organization.
Research seminars, workshops, and professional associations that could provide useful information or contacts.
Check trade journals and association bulletins for possible employment.

Music Industry/Business

Areas

Publishing and Editing
Producing
Recording
Engineering
Manufacturing
Talent Acquisition
Artist/Talent Representation
Promotion/Media Relations
Publicity
Administration
Marketing
Booking
Product Management
Business Management
Retail Sales

Employers

Production recording studios (most located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville)
Music management groups
Agencies
Music and record stores
Instrument manufacturers

Information/Strategies

Complete an internship at a record company.
Take business courses to work in management or administration.
Journalism, public relations, and communication classes are helpful for work in areas of promotion.
Gain sales experience for marketing. Learn to interact well with people and develop persuasion tools.
Knowledge of electronics, audio engineering, and recording knowledge required for production. Work or volunteer at a campus or local radio station. Join organizations involved with bringing events and entertainment to campus.
Work at a retail record store to learn about the industry.
Volunteer to help promote a local or campus band with their promotions and bookings.
Gain a broad knowledge of music and the industry.
Build a strong network of contacts.
Develop skills such as negotiation, assertiveness, the ability to recognize talent, and working under pressure.

Miscellaneous

Areas

Music Journalism
Law
Music Analysis

Employers

Music-related publications
Magazines and newspapers
Entertainment or music focused Internet sites
Entertainment law firms
Production companies

Information/Strategies

Take courses in journalism and English.
Write articles for campus newspaper.
Prepare for law school and earn a law degree (J.D.)
For music analysis:

  • Develop the ability to read and transcribe well.
  • Gain knowledge with use of high tech digital computers to analyze music.

General information and strategies

  • Majoring in music provides students with a sense of aesthetics and an understanding of human expression valuable to many employers.
  • Develop competencies in business management, computers, marketing, or other areas to broaden range of employment possibilities.
  • Finding positions in the music industry requires a combination of talent, training, connections and some luck. Perserverance is required!
  • Develop a variety of skills. Become "multi-talented."
  • As an undergraduate, gain as much experience as possible, paid or unpaid, through college and local organizations. Seek internships or volunteer positions with relevant organizations.
  • Confidence, personality, a positive attitude, and a love of music are important to success in many arenas of music. Learn basic tools of self-promotion.
  • Some jobs may require you to join unions or guilds. Research the industry to learn which ones are appropriate.
  • Performers often travel frequently and must be flexible regarding their work schedules.
  • Move to a larger city such as Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, or Chicago to find more job opportunities.